Custom software product development is influenced by both macroeconomic trends, such as an expanding economy, inflation, and monetary policy, as well as a behavioral trend to operate companies as data driven enterprises. As such, the need for custom software product development increases. Every infrastructure is different. No combination of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software is the same. Ultimately, organizations are seeking software that is customized from ideation to deployment. They can’t make do with existing software solutions they have kludged together; they need a solution designed for them by in-house or third-party developers.
What is Software Product Development?
Software product development refers to all stages of bringing software products from concept through to deployment. It’s a process that begins with designing and developing a set of features to address a business objective. Methodologies are used that result in an operational software product upon deployment.
How Does the Software Development Process Work?
No matter the size of the project, software development processes can be divided into three phases — design, development, and deployment.
Before developers begin to design software, they need to understand the “commander’s intent” of the business initiative that lead to this software project. This requires a careful explanation of what, operationally, should the business look like and how will reaching those goals be measured and supported through the software project. Both the business analysts and members of the software programming team should be able to communicate back the business goals the software should meet. It means identifying the “must-have” features and functionality. The scope involves more than technical details. It also encompasses cost-related constraints, delivery dates, and resource availability.
Before a line of code is written, businesses struggle to balance delivery dates and resource availability. The existing shortage of skilled developers continues to grow. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, software development positions will increase 22% over the next ten years. That rate is 5% higher than any other IT-related position. With fewer developers, the delivery dates for mission-critical solutions cannot be met.
Having technical resources doesn’t mean businesses have the right resources. A recent survey found that 95% of executives said finding skilled talent was one of their most challenging tasks for 2021. If companies do not have access to designers versed in emerging technologies, the resulting solutions could be outdated before they’re developed.
The development stage is where the design details are turned into functioning code. It is also the most intensive phase. It takes time to write code, test, update code, and retest. In this phase, developers are tasked with ensuring their code meets the design requirements and business objectives.
How development happens depends on the methodology being used. Companies may use a waterfall approach, or they may choose from agile methods. Knowing which methods to apply to a project and having developers who understand those approaches is essential to creating a cost-effective solution.
- Waterfall. This has been the traditional approach to software development. Although many managers see this method as outdated, it does have a place where requirements are clearly defined and accurately represented in design documents.
- Agile. Agile methodologies are based on iterative development cycles. Updates are released in weeks rather than months. This incremental approach helps organizations deliver new features faster.
Not only do organizations need staff that can use the appropriate methodologies, but they need well-designed quality assurance testing. Proper testing ensures integration, functionality, and interoperability. If testing is rushed, the resulting solution can be riddled with problems that require additional updates to fix.
Installation is the first step in deployment. With agile software development, sprints or two-week intervals of programming time, conclude with a deliverable (software release of functioning code) that deploys to staging infrastructure, e.g. AWS cloud or Microsoft Azure cloud environment. Implementation of CI / CD (Continuous Integration / Continuous Deployment) plan should be in place to ensure a smooth deployment. Documentation should be in place to assist the end-user in operating the software. This phase includes ongoing updates and maintenance of the solution.
In resource-scarce environments, deployment stops once the installation is complete. Developers are quickly reassigned and are not available to address issues that occur in production. Delays in responding to user concerns further delays the full deployment of the software.
Why Outsource Software Development?
Although enterprises are eager to implement technologies, they have not been successful. With limited access to resources, IT departments are looking to outsource software development. Not only can outsourcing address the labor shortage, but it can simplify the development process, clarify requirements, and improve quality.
Software product development is complex. Having to juggle resources only adds to the difficulties of delivering a solution on time and within budget. Outsourcing can minimize that complexity. The development becomes a self-contained project that operates with minimal impact on company resources. Turning the process over to an outsourcing service simplifies a company’s project management and lessens the stress on internal staff.
Defining requirements is often viewed as a “necessary evil” by in-house staff. It’s easy for employees to assume an understanding of the requirements; after all, they’ve worked at the company for years. That’s precisely why outsourcing can help strengthen the design process.
While an outsourcing agency should be familiar with your industry, their staff will not assume an understanding of your business environment. Instead, they will ask hard questions to ensure quality results because their focus is on meeting your strategic objectives. With clear requirements tied to business outcomes, the process can save time, minimize strain on internal resources, and improve the quality of the end product.
Outsourcing lets your software avoid common bugs and glitches that can appear in solutions that are rushed to deployment with minimal testing. Companies dedicated to software development have extensive testing and re-testing methods. As a result, problems are identified early and addressed quickly. Waiting until acceptance testing to find bugs increases development costs, delays deployment, and requires additional resources.
Ayoka Systems is a third-party custom software development service. Not only do we have the technical expertise to develop custom software solutions, but we also have the experience to simplify and clarify development projects. With our extensive testing regime, we minimize the risk of deploying code that has not been thoroughly tested. Ayoka offers a range of services, including the following:
- Custom software development
- Custom application development
- Custom database solutions
- Business intelligence solutions
- Technology due diligence
As companies struggle to deliver solutions, they can look to Ayoka for their software needs. Start a conversation today.